Sony Interactive Entertainment fired a senior vice president in its engineering division after he allegedly appeared in a YouTube pedophilia sting video.
George Cacioppo was allegedly trying to arrange a meeting with a person claiming to be a 15-year-old boy, according to a video posted Dec. 3 by the YouTube channel People v. Preds.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Cacioppo had been a senior vice president of engineering at Sony for the past eight years. He has been fired after allegedly appearing in the video.
In the clip, a cameraman can be seen walking on a street towards a house at night. Outside the house, a person, who appears to be Cacioppo, is wearing a PS5 shirt.
The cameraman talks to Cacioppo. A little while later, Cacioppo walks back into the house and closes the door. The cameraman keeps yelling that he will call the cops.
The information about the whole case has also been sent to the District Attorney’s Office of San Diego County, confirmed People v. Preds.
“We are aware of the situation and the employee in question has been terminated from employment,” in an emailed statement on Sunday, Sony stated.
In a Google Drive link posted in the video’s description, an individual People vs. Preds alleges to be Cacioppo, using the alias “Jeff,” engaged in a conversation with another user, a decoy account set up by People vs. Preds designed to appear as a 15-year-old boy.
The individual alleged to be Cacioppo sends several sexually explicit messages to the other user before they arrange to meet one another outside the individual alleged to be Cacioppo’s home.
According to Grindr’s community guidelines, minors are not permitted on Grindr, and “any violation or suspected violation will result in a ban.”
The policy also extends to communication between users, so that “if a user communicates with another user that they believe to be under 18, that is also a violation of our age policy.”
The app drew major controversy in 2019 as The Times investigation found underage users were able to bypass Grindr’s age verification controls, with many being sexually exploited as a result. More than 100 men in the U.S. have been charged with crimes related to sexual activity with minors they met on Grindr.
According to a July investigation by GHB News:
“It creates an easy place for sexual predators to look for these kids,” Jack Turban, a fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, told GBH News.
“Grindr is also at fault for knowing that this is happening and not doing anything about it.”